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France fines Google, Facebook over cookies

Jordan Daily -The French government is fining the tech giants millions over data that tracks users’ activity. They’ve given the companies three months to comply or face further fines.

France’s National Commission for Information Technology and Freedom (CNIL) on Thursday hit Facebook and Google with €210 million ($237 million) in fines.

“CNIL has determined that the sites, and do not allow users to refuse the use of cookies as simply as to accept them,” the regulator said, referring to blocks of data that track online activity and can be used for targeted advertising, a major source of income for both companies.

Google, which also owns YouTube, was fined €150 million, breaking a record €100-million fine the company received in December 2020 over similar practices. Facebook has received a €60-million fine.

The two companies have three months to adapt their methods or they will be fined €100,000 a day, CNIL said.

In a statement to French news agency AFP, Google said it would change its practices in accordance with the decision.

“In accordance with the expectations of internet users… we are committed to implementing new changes, as well as to working actively with CNIL in response to its decision,” the firm said.

Following the implementation of a 2018 EU law meant to protect consumer privacy, companies are required to inform people about their use of cookies and ask for consent. CNIL has argued that many companies make it much clearer and easier to accept the use of cookies than to reject them. In 2020, it fined Amazon €60 million over its practices and said it has sent 90 formal notices to websites this year.

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